New York City Decides To Actually Pay Attention To Its Verizon Contracts After Getting Ripped Off On FiOS Deal
from the novel-ideas dept
Basically, Verizon did what Verizon's been doing for the better part of a generation now: getting special perks, subsidies and tax breaks in exchange for promises it has absolutely no intention of actually keeping. Former city leaders likely knew this; the 2008 deal was hashed out behind closed doors with then Mayor Mike Bloomberg's office with little to no serious public input.
Moving forward the city appears to have come up with a novel idea, more closely monitoring Verizon's other business relationships with the city:
"In a meeting at the end of June, Mayor Bill de Blasio told commissioners and agency heads they must inform the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications of all major contract negotiations with Verizon and other service providers...The de Blasio administration's new protocol has been described by insiders as an attempt to keep Verizon from continuing with business as usual while failing to make good on its FiOS franchise commitments—or even acknowledging the shortcomings of its FiOS rollout."Yes, that's right, Verizon has yet to even admit it failed in any way, making the city's attempt to hold Verizon accountable rather difficult. What makes it even more difficult is that Verizon's likely just adhering to an agreement its own lawyers intentionally stuffed with loopholes, ranging from clever language regarding homes "passed" with fiber versus homes "served," to unrealistic provisions allowing Verizon to wiggle or buy its way out of obligations if certain TV and broadband uptake marks weren't reached.
Of course reporters at the time urged the city to have a more transparent public negotiations with Verizon to avoid these kinds of caveats and were ignored. Perhaps next time the city can be bothered to heed those warnings, and other cities can use this experience as (yet another) cautionary tale when dealing with Verizon.